U.S. Air Force says B-1s were not deployed to Guam. So, where did five big bombers go last night?

It looks like the B-1Bs strategic bombers heard last week by milair monitoring expert Steve Douglass did not deploy to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

A couple of nights ago, from his monitoring station in Amarillo, Douglass heard a flight of seven Dyess Air Force Base’s 7th Bomb Wing “Bones” asking for weather report for Guam, where they were seemingly going alongside some supporting KC-135s aerial refuelers.

However, the B-1s never landed in the strategic airbase in the Pacific.

Talking to Foreign Policy Killer Apps, U.S. Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman said that the planes are not at Andersen Air Force Base. “The definitely didn’t even stop through,” she added.

Sources at Dyess AFB have confirmed to Douglass that seven planes were launched at night a couple of days ago. Two of them were spares: they returned to the airbase near Abilene, Texas, while the remaining five continued to their final destination.

Unfortunately, the source could not say where the Lancers eventually landed.

B-1 formation

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

So, the question is: where did five B-1s deploy to last night?

Even if they did not go to Guam, their flight remain a mystery for at least two reasons:

1) Big bombers (B-1s, B-52s, B-2s) usually deploy in pairs. When more planes have to reach a forward operating base, they usually move individually. Five planes moving together (if not in formation, at the same time) is far from being normal.

2) The route is somehow weird: when they deploy to Europe, Middle East (Thumrait or Al Udeid) or Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, B-1s fly eastward, overflying the Atlantic Ocean and then the Mediterranean Sea. The route across the Pacific is unusual.

3) Timing is suspect. The deployment took place few hours after North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un said he was going to launch a nuclear attack on Continental U.S.

4) They talked on the radio about Guam (the most important base in the region, to be protected by THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense systems): if they were deploying there to reinforce U.S. presence near North Korea, preparing a preemptive attack that would face little resistance by the obsolete North Korean Air Force, they would keep the information secret by using secure radios.

Maybe. It must not be forgotten that U.S. and NATO planes used to talk in the clear during Libya Air War missions.On the other side, they knew some airband listeners were hearing them and wanted them to spread the news that seven (actually five) bombers were going to Guam.

What’s your opinion. Where were they going (Japan, Thailand, Philippines, ?) and why?

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I heard some chatter on my GRECOM 800 scanner about the time of this report. It was on some AM military channel which I never hear active on the scanner before. Some numbers came up on the screen, but I didn’t write them down or record the transmission. I’m near New Orleans so it could be fighters flying out of the local Naval Air Station. It sounded like they were discussing in flight refueling, but I’m not sure.
    If they are sending bombers anywhere, it is probably to be closer to Syria with all those chemical weapons they have. The latest polls indicate that the American people don’t want US ground troops involved in any more wars unless we, or our treaty allies, are directly attacked.
    Or they might be getting ready to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations? The talks are going nowhere.

    • Yeah maybe, but why would they go over the Pacific to get to Syria or Iran? And aren’t there B1’s already in Afghan they could use for those missions? Just a thought.

  2. Pure speculation: Alaska is a pretty convenient location for missions against NK. Quite a distance from Guam though…

  3. If the B-1s had landed in Japan it would have been all over the news here, so I think we can discount that destination. The same might hold true for Thailand and the Phillipines.

  4. Even if you knew, why would you want to release such information to the enemy? If anything, those planes should have been flying over NK to drop deterrants on their launch pads. When someone mouths off to you, and threatens you and your family, what would you do? Provide them a step by step plan? Heck no. I’d eliminate the threat to the point I’d never have to worry about it again. Wouldn’t you?

  5. I think…that if a war does break out (still very very very low chance) it will be the first war started based purely on media hype. Both sides dont want war, yet they seem to be reacting to each other via media reports more than anything.

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